Lancaster Latinas in STEM

According to the 2015 report from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, “Fulfilling America’s Future: Latinas in the US,” one in five women in the US is a Latina and one in four female students in public schools across the nation is a Latina. Unfortunately, Latina youth are the least likely to attain a college degree. Latinas have the lowest percentage of graduate degrees compared to all women of other non-Hispanic racial groups combined! Just 3 percent of Latina women are represented in STEM fields, while women in total make up 24 percent of the STEM workforce.

Why does this matter? For the Lancaster community, investing in the future of STEM makes sense for technology firms, engineering and construction companies, hospitals, and the life sciences industry. Right here in Lancaster, these professionals are advancing medicine at Lancaster General Hospital, engineering real estate development projects on the 300 block of North Queen, feeding the community at Central Market, and so much more. STEM careers fuel the local economy and community.

Distraught by the lack of Latinas in STEM in Lancaster, local city resident Lisa Estrella formed Lancaster Latinas in STEM as a community network to inspire and empower Latinas to pursue, thrive and advance in STEM. Lisa is a Latina research statistician and spent many years in undergraduate and graduate math classes without a Latina role model. She began to research the barriers to Latinas pursuing careers in her mathematics field and learned that without more Latina role models, Latina youth would never seek STEM careers.

Latinas remain seriously underrepresented in all professions and are barely represented at all at the CEO or board member level of major companies. Lisa wants to change this – especially in STEM fields. Her personal mission is to serve as a STEM ambassador in the Lancaster community and to motivate Latinas to pursue a STEM career. By forming Lancaster Latinas in STEM, Lisa hopes to address the lack of Latina role models in the Lancaster community, to inspire and empower Latinas in STEM, and to help Latina professionals thrive in STEM careers.

To get started on her personal mission, Lisa has formed alliances with several community benefit organizations offering STEM education. Lancaster Latinas in STEM members serve as role models at various educational events to inspire young Latinas. Concurrently, the network has pulled together several community resources for Latinas seeking STEM education and careers and is tied to several Lancaster employers looking to diversify their STEM workforce. Lancaster Latinas in STEM is regularly seeking employers, educational programs, and community benefit organizations to help advance its mission. Interested supporters can access the group on Facebook for more information and to learn about upcoming events and opportunities.

About Lancaster Latinas In STEM

Lancaster Latinas in STEM is a growing network of diverse women who seek or work in STEM fields in Central Pennsylvania. Its mission is to inspire and empower Latinas to pursue, thrive and advance in STEM. Visit us on our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/lancasterlatinas

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